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Tom Gurney BSc (Hons) is an art history expert with over 20 years experience
Published on June 19, 2020 / Updated on October 14, 2023
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Photographic prints of the work of Antonio Canova can bring some class and style to your home, with the Neoclassical approach still enjoying a large following across the world today.

Whilst there are some sculpture reproductions available online, most of his followers take the safer option of ordering framed prints of his sculptures and paintings instead. These are easier to display and also the quality of reproduced sculptures can vary widely, as can the price. There is also the difficulty in shipping larger, heavier objects too. Any professional photographer should be able to bring Canova's work to life by capturing the beauty of the original, whilst also amending the environment in which it is now displayed. Getting the angle of the photograph as well as the balance of light are the two main challenges to producing the best photographs of his work. Some amateur photographers may even be able to use their own photographs as prints, if they have taken the time to visit some of these artworks in person. The main difficulty would be being able to find an opportunity where no other visitors are in the shot too.

The Neoclassical style has continued to draw interest with some European art followers and you will also find a number of people ordering reproduction prints of Jacques Louis David's paintings, with The Death of Marat, The Oath of Horatii and Napoleon Crossing the Alps at the St Bernard Pass being the most popular choices. These two artists are considered by many to be the leading lights of this movement and they complement each other nicely, in that they were predominantly involved in different artistic disciplines. Canova's own strength was to be able to create the feeling and impression of sensitive flesh using marble, something very few have ever managed to achieve. One would look for a suitable print that underlines this strength, perhaps even a particular detail of a sculpture, rather than the entire piece so that one can get a closer look at the extraordinary detail of his work.

You might also consider some alternatives to Canova, which for followers of Italian sculpture from previous centuries might include photographic prints of Lorenzo Ghiberti's sculptures, such as the entire North Doors or perhaps just one of the individual panels such as The Annunciation or The Adoration of the Magi. Alternatively, perhaps some photographs of sculptures by Bernini or Donatello instead? They were significant members of the earlier periods of sculpture within Europe and likely would have come to Canova's attention during his studies across Italy. He preferred to learn by travelling around the country and seeing original art with his own eye, rather than just being told about it by tutors in a stale classroom. He is just one of many artists to have done this, with art much more easily accessible now than it would have been then, thanks to all the different avenues available through modern media. Modern sculpture has become a much bolder discipline, with many artworks from recent years being too large for photographic prints, where only an element of the piece could be captured. In other cases, the general theme of the piece could be lost through alternative ways in which photography cannot quite reproduce key components of the sculpture, such as interactions, sound and similar.

Those who choose to stick with Canova's career can then decide whether to get a reproduction print of one of his sculptures, paintings or drawings. He is most famous for sculpture, and also was more productive in this discipline and so most will go for one of those. Three Graces is perhaps his most famous artwork of all and this, combined with the feminine beauty found in the piece, makes it the most popular choice of all. There are a whole variety of professionally taken photographs of this sculpture available online, so you would have plenty of choice. One might even take your own photos and order a customised print of your own creation - this is becoming more and more common today, thanks to the increase in websites offering these types of specialist services. Besides Three Graces, you might also consider the likes of Bust (Colossal Head) of Napoleon Bonaparte or Psyche Revived by Cupid's Kiss, with both of these also displaying the sculptor's extraordinary talents with regards creating lifelike depictions from marble.